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Marmaduke Gentle (Dorset, England)

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Six Four
Six Four
by Hideo Yokoyama
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Like wading through miasmic tedium soup, 26 Jan. 2017
This review is from: Six Four (Paperback)
Whilst hate is something of a strong sentiment the fact that I didn't like this book was compounded by being duped by the publisher's blurb that I'm usually astute enough to see through. Even newspaper reviewers I'd normal respect paid this book compliments and yet I struggle to see why. It's ridiculously and unnecessarily long for such an unsatisfactory payoff. The Stand or Lord of the Rings pay you back for your patience and commitment, this book thinks that a preposterous tale of revenge is really worth the trudging through the thick miasma of police press journalistic soup - it's not. The insight into the Japanese culture and structure of police departments offers minimal reward, and falls short of what can be gained from other authors of similar genres, such as Keigo Higashino. Don't fall for the hype, there's more to life and crime fiction from other countries, just not here with Six Four.


The Ashes of Berlin
The Ashes of Berlin
by Luke McCallin
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Post-war Berlin is a great angle to set a detective series and there are ..., 23 Jan. 2017
This review is from: The Ashes of Berlin (Paperback)
The Ashes of Berlin was my first venture into the world of Captain Reinhardt and I regret having missed the first of the series because he is a solid character I could not only believe in but empathise with. The post-war world McCallin paints is authentic, bleak and peppered with confusion as the citizens and power players of Berlin make their moves and countermoves in an effort to gain the upper hand. Reinhardt is caught in the middle of the chaos and as he investigates a series of murders a way out seems a distant dream, all the more compounded by his son's return and mysterious activities in the midst of battle.

The plot of Ashes of Berlin rattles along, with enough mystery, action and character development to maintain interest throughout and allowing the reader to speculate as to the guilty party on more than one occasion. Post-war Berlin is a great angle to set a detective series and there are enough peripheral threads to develop the characters further without tapping the well dry.


Nomad: The Most Explosive Thriller You'll Read All Year (The Marc Dane series)
Nomad: The Most Explosive Thriller You'll Read All Year (The Marc Dane series)
by James Swallow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.38

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A simple beach read quickly forgotten., 11 Jun. 2016
Pilgrim-Lite, Bondish, Bourne-Slightly

The plot has a usually desk-bound MI6 operative framed, on the run, globe-trotting in search of those behind the conspiracy and atrocities whilst eluding government agencies and terrorists aplenty. It's an implausible, roller-coaster sprinting from location to location which does not quite work. Perhaps the character development is just too much of a paint by numbers exercise. Some of the characters seem too stereotypical, such as the Russian oligarch with connections to gangsters, terrorists and government operatives, the senior management in British Intelligence and the CIA agents. That may well be how they are (!) but little imagination has gone into sketching out something to make these characters stand out from other thrillers of this nature. Danes, the lead, gets suitably wounded both physically and emotionally but ploughs a lonely furrow until the mysterious Kyles turns up, with her sharpshooting no nonsense approach, but I'm not sure the reader ever really engages with him and his plight.

The author acknowledges the work of Ludlum, Fleming and Clancy but needs to go further with character development and imagination before he can be considered in the same category. A simple beach read quickly forgotten.


The Cartel
The Cartel
by Don Winslow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Long live Art Keller, 29 July 2015
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This review is from: The Cartel (Hardcover)
An outstanding follow-up to Power of the Dog with a colourful array of heroes and villains living and dying in the blink of an eye which will hopefully restore Winslow's reputation after the debacle that was Savages.


The Scarlet Gospels
The Scarlet Gospels
by Clive Barker
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hell is flimsy and lacklustre, 29 July 2015
This review is from: The Scarlet Gospels (Paperback)
What a disappointment. We're led to believe this was written by Clive Barker but it's so far wide of the mark that it is hard to consider the same author wrote Weaveworld and the Great and Secret Show. It's tedious. It lacks tension, horror, disgust or awe. How the mighty has fallen.


Tony and Susan: Now the major motion picture Nocturnal Animals
Tony and Susan: Now the major motion picture Nocturnal Animals
by Austin Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Tension-filled opening and then all downhill from there, 27 May 2015
Those responsible for the publisher's blurb on the book cover seem to have only read the first 80 pages of this book because that part is well written and the tension puts the reader ill at ease, questioning just how they would react under similar circumstances. And then it goes downhill. The bubble of tension is burst, Susan's story ambles along in a tedious fashion, generating little sympathy from the reader and leaving us wondering if Edward had a lucky escape.


Blood on Snow
Blood on Snow
by Jo Nesbo
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Damaging to Nesbo's credibility, 21 April 2015
This review is from: Blood on Snow (Hardcover)
Irrespective of this 'book' being substandard compared to past Nesbo contributions to fiction it is perhaps more damaging to his credibility as to how it has been presented to the public. It's a short story hideously twisted and stretched to resemble something substantial and the font suggests the publisher thinks all Nesbo readers need reading aids! A publisher exploiting a writer's followers to fill a Harry Hole gap - shameless.


The Andalucian Friend: The First Book in the Brinkmann Trilogy (Brinkman Trilogy 1)
The Andalucian Friend: The First Book in the Brinkmann Trilogy (Brinkman Trilogy 1)
by Alexander Soderberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The woman with no tattoos, 3 Sept. 2013
It seems a little premature and perhaps hyperbolic to refer to this author as being the new Stieg Larsson because whilst there is a strong female at the centre of this novel, the focus is shared with many other characters in this global thriller. What Brinkmann lacks in computer hacking and dirty fighting she makes up for in nursing skills, diplomacy and understanding and that is the problem with making the comparisons to the Dragon Tattoo. This novel at times feels disjointed, perhaps flitting too readily between the characters as their stories develop, but overall is told well enough to sweep the reader along. There are some satisfying confrontations with a conclusion which is not unexpected and could set up an entertaining second novel. Sophie Brinkmann is not Lisbeth Salander but then she doesn't need to be, their worlds, whilst both violent and disruptive, are very different and this novel will suffer by the comparisons.


Child of God
Child of God
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the love for Lester?, 23 July 2013
This review is from: Child of God (Paperback)
This is a powerful and dark tale, simply and evocatively written that plays with the reader's emotions. Whilst some of the acts are depraved and reprehensible there is a sadness and loneliness to Lester Ballard, in that he seems to have been on the losing side from the start and that it has always been an uphill battle. He is a disturbed man with twisted tendencies but acts, such as the winning of, and then cherishing of, the cuddly toys from the fair, suggest it could all have been different but for a little love.


We Are Here
We Are Here
by Michael Marshall
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missing an edge, 30 April 2013
This review is from: We Are Here (Hardcover)
As a fan of both Marshall's fiction and science-fiction novels the prospect of a new one was exciting but We Are Here just did not work. It took a large portion of the book to find any cohesiveness and when the pieces did finally begin to come together they felt disjointed. The concept is interesting but the evil lacked menace, the protaganists failed to elicit much empathy and just a few days after reading it has almost faded from memory, whereas The Straw Men still looms strongly many years after reading.


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